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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of New Mexico
Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Albuquerque Man Charged With Firearms Offenses

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Brendan Iber, Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), announced that Marquez Martinez was charged with dealing in firearms without a license and illegal possession of a machine gun. Martinez, 25, of Albuquerque, appeared in federal court for a detention hearing and will remain at the La Pasada Halfway House under numerous conditions of release pending trial, which has not been scheduled.

According to the criminal complaint, on Jan. 9, 2023, the ATF identified an Instagram account associated with Martinez advertising the sale of firearms including firearms modified with a machine gun conversion device commonly referred to as a “switch.” A machine gun conversion device is a small device that can be mounted to the back of a handgun. Once mounted, the device allows the handgun to operate as a fully automatic weapon.

On Jan. 10, 2023, a student at West Mesa High School was found with two firearms in their possession. One of the firearms was purchased by Marquez on Nov. 10, 2022, 61 days prior and modified with a machine gun conversion device. On Feb. 1, 2023, an undercover detective with the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) contacted Martinez through Instagram and set up numerous controlled purchases of contraband. Specifically, the undercover detective purchased LSD, several handguns, an AK-47, several machine gun conversion devices, and fentanyl. One of the handguns was found to have been purchased by Martinez 39 days prior to the controlled purchase.

On March 2, 2023, a Texas State Ranger conducted a traffic stop in El Paso, TX, on a vehicle that contained an individual wanted for homicide in Albuquerque. During a search of the vehicle a firearm was recovered. The firearm had been purchased by Martinez on June 26, 2022.

On March 8, 2023, the APD Gun Violence Suppression Unit (GVSU) conducted a vehicle stop in Albuquerque. During the vehicle stop, a firearm was recovered and seized. This firearm had been purchased by Martinez on Jan. 7, 2023, 62 days prior to it being recovered by law enforcement.

During the five-month period of monitoring Martinez’s firearm purchases, the ATF estimates that he was responsible for buying at least thirty-five firearms.

On May 11, 2023, the ATF and other federal law enforcement agencies executed a warrant on the current known residence of Martinez. Inside the home, agents located approximately thirteen firearms, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and numerous ammunition magazines. Martinez was interviewed by an agent from the ATF and admitted purchasing “hundreds” of firearms since turning 21, to include approximately fifty purchases in the past six months.

An indictment is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Martinez faces up to 10 years in prison.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated this case with assistance from the Albuquerque Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Patrick E. Cordova is prosecuting the case.

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